No great American road trip would ever be complete without good music to keep you company on your journey. But what if music is your destination? Then that makes your road trip even more rockin’. Music is the soundtrack to our lives, serving as the beat that keeps up with us as we rock on from one place to the next.
If music beats within your veins, hit the road to visit these iconic American music cities to really make your next vacation rock.
Memphis road trip, Tennessee
Memphis is arguably the best place in America to get true southern barbecue. It’s also the place that is known for where rock and roll was officially born. Here, you can take a tour of Sun Studio. If that sounds familiar, that’s because rock n’ roll legends like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis first began their careers. Major fans of The King shouldn’t miss Graceland either.
In addition to rock n’ roll, Memphis has a soulful side. A visit to the Stax Museum of American Soul music is definitely in order to learn more about soul singers like Otis Reading and Isaac Hayes, plus many more. Reverend Al Green also turns the Full Gospel Tabernacle into one of the most incredible places you’ll ever see. Do a search on “Memphis to New Orleans” and “Highway 61” and you’ll find pages of info detailing the must do stops for the music aficionado.
Austin road trip, Texas
Austin is often revered as the “Live Music capital of the World ” and if you’re devoted enough you could tack this on to the end of your road trip from New Orleans – Memphis – Austin. It’s here that you’ll find every sound imaginable from rock to blues to country and beyond. That’s probably because Austin has the largest concentration of clubs in the world. Free tours like Austin City Limits studio are a must. Plus, if music gets you in the mood for sleep or anything otherwise, the Hotel San Jose is a fun, music-themed boutique hotel that offers a weekly event where a band performs and then chooses a film to show after the performance. It’s called “Rock N’ Reel” and is intensely popular, for obvious reasons. Beyond that, Austin is also a top foodie destination and is often credited for the surge in food truck popularity, so you can eat on and rock on all at once.
Portland road trip, Oregon
Assuming that you’re starting out at San Francisco, Portland is an ideal destination, especially for the indie rock fan. It’s outdoorsy and hip, plus it’s incredibly eco-friendly. There are all sorts of musical makings here. Lower Burnside, affectionately called LoBu, is a neighborhood rife with sound. Among awesome venues here, Doug Fir Lounge gives you Twin Peaks-style décor to recreate that outdoorsy feel. Plus, it’s the kind of place you may very well run into your actual favorite rockstars. This city has got it going on, for the rocker/environmentalist in you.
There are many other musical destinations you can ride out to of course. Chicago is known for the blues, Miami is known for Latino delights, and Seattle will always be the place where grunge was famously born. Set your sights on a city that gives you the vibe you love to get down to.